No cutting corners around here.

Robbie Caponetto

As the summer months creep up, our daydreams are filled with visions of barefoot days spent poolside—then retiring to the porch for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres served among family, friends, and fireflies. We’ll be the first to admit that there are few things more satisfying than a refreshing beverage on a hot summer day—and true to our Southern roots, even more so when it’s homemade. The classic margarita is a favorite among cocktail connoisseurs and novices to the adult beverage world alike. Tequila? Check. Triple sec? Check. Lime juice and a little salt around the rim? Check. However, the secret to a margarita that will seriously impress your porch party guests lies not in the simple ingredients. And no, neither does it lie in chips and salsa served alongside (although we could probably write a novel about that alone.) Blenders ready? Not so fast.

WATCH: How to Make a Margarita

Mama always taught us never to take shortcuts in the kitchen, and concocting cocktails is surely no exception. Before tossing all of your ingredients into a blender and hoping for the best, slow down, gather the proper tools, and remember that we’re not making hunch punch here. A cocktail shaker is an affordable and necessary tool to truly do your margarita justice. Plus, it sure does make a handsome addition to your bar cart. While it can be tempting to take the easy route of using a blender (or—God forbid—merely stirring your ingredients together), shaking any cocktail containing fruit juice is fundamental to properly bind ingredients together. Ever fallen victim to a sip of mouth-puckering lime followed by a hair-raising mouthful of tequila? We think we've found your culprit, and you and your guests deserve better! For best results, chill your shaker in the freezer for a few minutes, add all of your ingredients except ice and shake, then add ice and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. Be sure to grab our recipe for the perfect classic margarita here.

Showing off your confident cocktail shaking skills is sure to impress a crowd (although we might recommend first giving it a whirl in private, for beginners). Plus, by crafting each margarita individually, you can tailor the alcohol level to the liking of each guest, which is only the polite thing to do.

Oh, cabana boy! We’ll have another.